Six Buffs Advance To XC Worlds
Houston - Colorado freshmen harriers Billy Nelson and Brett Schoolmeester finished in a 1-2 punch in the junior men's 8k at the USATF National Cross Country Championships at Buffalo Bayou Park Sunday and as a result were two of four current Buffs and a pair of alums that qualified for the USA team that will compete at the world championships in March.
They will join senior teammates Edwardo Torres and Molly Austin and alums Shayne and Alan Culpepper at the 2003 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, which will be decided March 29-30 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The top six finishers in each race automatically advanced while freshman Christine Bolf and junior Sara Gorton are both second alternates with eighth-place efforts from their respective races.
"We had an excellent weekend here, better than I had hoped," said Mark Wetmore. "We had about as many qualifiers for the World Championships as I had hoped, but in even better positions than I had optimistically been hoping for."
Nelson, the 2002 Big 12 Cross Country Newcomer of the Year, covered the muddy junior men's 8k course in 27:08, en route to a comfortable 19-second national championship victory over CU teammate Schoolmeester who finished second in 27:17, just a pair of seconds ahead of the race's third place finisher. While the two earned the right to represent the U.S. in March, classmate Payton Batliner finished 14th in 28:28.
Torres advances to his first World Cross Country Championship race, as he was the individual runner-up, and highest finishing collegian (and the only collegian among the top-15 finishers), in the senior men's race. He finished the 12k challenge in 39:04, trailing Colorado alum Alan Culpepper who won in 38:22.
Molly Austin also makes her first run at the world's roster, with the last qualifying spot, sixth, in the women's short course race as she finished the 4k race in 15:34. CU alum Shayne (Wille) Culpepper won her first national championship in the 4k in 15:10. Sara Gorton assumes the second alternate position with an eighth place finish of 15:37.
"Molly and Sara were running shoulder to shoulder the entire race before Adidas' Heather Sagan got in between them with 50 or 60 meters to go."
Freshman Christine Bolf is the second alternate for the women's junior 4k team as she finished eighth, ahead of teammate Jackie Ziegle who finished 13th in 26:18.
U.S. CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS (Houston)
Colorado athletes/alumns listed
1. Alan Culpepper, adidas, 38:22
t-2. Edwardo Torres, Colorado, 39:04
1. Shayne Culpepper, adidas, 15:10
6. Molly Austin, Colorado, 15:34
8. Sara Gorton, Colorado, 15:37
Junior Men's 8k
1. Billy Nelson, Colorado, Colorado, 27:08
2. Brett Schoolmeester, Colorado, 27:17
14. Payton Batliner, Colorado, 28:18
Junior Women's 6k
8. Christine Bolf, Colorado, 25:20
13. Jackie Zeigle, Colorado, 26:18